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Showing posts from June, 2015

Six Ideas to Prevent the Summer Slide

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Welcome to summer vacation! A time of relaxation, sand castles, fireworks, and well-deserved fun for our hard-working kids.  We want our kids to have time to be kids, but we also want them to start the new school year with all the skills they've worked so hard to improve this past year.  How do we help them prevent that summer slide without sucking the fun out of summer?

My newest article for the Smarter Schools Project has 6 great ideas for preschoolers up through high schoolers. Plus, it is full of links to online resources to help you get started as soon as today, or bookmark so you can start after you've had a chance to hit the beach.



Before Choosing EdTech Products, Ask Yourself These 3 Questions

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EdSurge has done it again! Are you ready for ISTE? I am! What will you bring back to your students? Will it really make a difference?  Here's my take.


The article was also featured in this week's Instruct Newsletter.

If you have an interest in the amazing ways to leverage student data for personalized and meaningful instruction, we would love to see you at the Why Student Data? panel in the midst of all the ISTE excitement.  Join us Tuesday, June 30 at 12:30 in PCC 114.

The Case for BYOD in Schools

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There seems to be a significant push in the press lately to report on the distraction created by allowing students to bring their own mobile technology (smartphones, tablets, chromebooks, etc.) into the classroom.  A study published by the London School of Economics has prompted articles from many media outlets like CNN, The Guardian, and the Boston Globe looking deeper into the issue.

These articles are failing to acknowledge the reality that students walk into school with their devices.  It doesn't matter if the devices are banned.  They are still hidden in pockets and backpacks, and students are still checking them and using them to communicate throughout the day.  A ban only means they "get caught" sometimes.  Rather than students learning in an artificial environment where mobile technology is prohibited, let's acknowledge that it is already an important part of their lives and teach them how to use it responsibly.  While it is clear that mobile tech is not nece…

Effective EdTech Integration Starts with "Why"

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Educators know why they teach.  EdTech entrepreneurs know why they think their tool will solve a problem for teachers and students.  But why is technology integration in the classroom essential to learning for today's students?

For over a century, inventors and thinkers have claimed that the latest piece of technology would revolutionize education.  How are mobile technology and web-based apps different than every invention that preceded them?  The answer is that they are not, really.  It isn't the technology that changes education.  Technology is a tool that can make a revolution in education possible.  But this is only possible if we change our approach to learning.
These are the questions I ask myself as I plan learning experiences for my students.  It is important to note that the order of these questions is key.
Question 1: Why do I want my students to learn X? Note that the first question is not, "What do I want my students to learn?" -- signified by X in the …

Ms. Gallagher Goes to Washington

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Thanks to the Smarter Schools Project, I was invited to be part of an important briefing event at the U.S. Capitol today.  I'm honored to be one of the important voices for educators as policymakers and the press continue the conversation about the role of technology in our children's schools.  To be counted as a voice alongside Greg Toppo, Daisy Dyer Duerr, James Richardson, and Mickey Bryant has been both a humbling and thrilling experience.

If you were unable to attend this morning's event, check out #beyondpencils on Twitter to review the day.  Also, watch for video and blog posts to go up over the next days and weeks under that same hashtag.

A summary of my small contribution to this very important national conversation can be reviewed by watching the 2 minute video below -- which I made at Logan Airport while waiting for my flight to Washington D.C. on Thursday night.




**Update - On June 25, 2015 Smarter School Project posted this video of the event.**



Teens Speak: Should students publish their school work online?

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If you are reading this blog, you surely know that I am an educator who sees technology as an opportunity to open up the world to my students, to connect them with content and experts not available at school.  On the other hand, it is important to teach them how to responsibly and effectively leverage technology so they are both learning and protected.


A passion I have been working to share lately is to allow students themselves to have a voice in the digital citizenship discussion. ConnectSafely has invited me to write for them and add to their rich collection of posts from experts in safety, security, privacy, digital literacy, and bullying.  I'm honored to contribute.  Click here to read my first post about publishing student work online.


Finding Your Tribe #beyouEDU

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Once again I had the opportunity to contribute to the #beyouEDU movement founded by Dr. Will.  This month, as many of us in the ed tech global community prepare to head to ISTE 2015, he has asked us to think about "Finding Your Tribe."

In response I wrote a brief post and created this infographic using Canva.  Please click here to read the complete post on his website.


UNexam 2.0

In our test-heavy educational environment, no one is immune from the exam experience.  I do my best to push back by creating a collaborative learning environment throughout the year in my high school history classroom.  My students investigate, analyze, and create to prove what they've learned.  I've said it before: I don't give tests.

Well, as final exam week approaches later this month, I am forced to break that promise.  How can I give an exam that meets my school and department expectations while being true to my teaching and learning philosophy?

In the past, I gave what I called an "UNexam" and wrote about it last January.  It worked like a dream and received a positive response from parents, students, and my PLN.  This writing and media-based exam works great in January, but in June when I'm eyeball deep in 120 lengthy research papers it feels overwhelming to think of even more essays filling my Google Drive during that last week of school.

How do I bal…